tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 4, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
♪ ...and no candy, gladys. [ clucks ] [ male announcer ] perdue. extra inspections... extraordinary chicken. tonight on tonight on "world news," gay marriage. the law overturned as a judge items voters in california they cannot ban same sex marriage. gulf success. the oil well is dead, choked by mud. so when will the people of the gulf get their shrimp, their oysters and their lives back? billionaire giveaway. america's richest people promise to donate half the money to charity. birth tourism. do people really come to the u.s. just to deliver babies that will be automatic citizens? and a student's secret. one college student, one amazing story.
good evening. breaking news tonight in america's national debate about what defines a family. two years ago, the voters of california banned gay marriage, with 52% of the vote. this afternoon, a federal judge said those voters were wrong, that bank gay marriage is fundamentally unconstitutional, and violates america's commitment to end discrimination. a decision that will undoubtedly head to the supreme court, and terry moran has been studying it all for us. >> reporter: federal judge vaughn r. walker's ruling was sweeping and definitive, striking down the ban on gay marriage in ringing terms. "because california has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, the court concluding that proposition 8 is unconstitutional." by striking down proposition 8, judge walker, a republican aupon tee, declared that the 7 million californians who voted for the ban got it wrong constituti constitutionally -- voters, he
said, we driven by "nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples." adding "opposite-sex couples are not better than their same-sex counterparts -- instead, as paraer ins, parents and citizens, opposite- sex couples and same-sex couples are equal." reaction was swift and intense. from the lesbian couple that brought the case -- jubilation. >> this decision says that we are americans, too. we, too, should be treated equally. >> reporter: their lawyers were a high-powered political odd couple. democrat david boies, who represented al gore in the 2000 election dispute. and republican ted olson, who argued for george w. bush in that case. but they found common ground in fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians. >> this is what american justice is all about. >> reporter: on the other side, there was anger. and in this election year, republicans see an opening. senator jeff sessions of alabama blasted the ruling.
>> it is an example of a judge feeling that they know better than the people what higher and better values are and then >> reporter: now, the judge stayed his ruling from going into effect, so, no gay marriages in california just yet. this case is headed for an appeal, no question, all the way to the supreme court. >> i want to show everybody the map right now, terry. as of tonight, there are five states that have approved same sex marriage. massachusetts, connecticut, iowa, new hampshire, vermont and, of course, washington, d.c., as well. so, tell us what the courts have been saying about this nationwide. >> reporter: well, there's no question, diane, this is a movement being driven in the courts. and proponents say that is where the courts are our fundamental rights have always been advanced. opponents say this is anti-democratic and elitist, and there is a risk of a backlash, diane. when the courts get too far ahead of the country, they risk their legitimacy, their authority. right now, the country is
divided on this. 50-47 in the latest abc news poll. very interesting to see what happens to those numbers in the wake of this. >> are you saying the courts have not ruled against it so far in states? >> reporter: they have not. the hawaii supreme court did dismiss a case. they didn't rule on the constituti constitutionality. but right now, a string of victories in the courts. >> all right, terry moran reporting tonight on this news this afternoon. and another big story tonight. the oil well in the gulf has been killed by tons of mud. 107 days after the gushing oil leak started, this picture that we saw for so long is now history, and this is the photo for the days to come. matt gutman is in alabama tonight, where some of the first oil came ashore. matt? >> reporter: that's right, diane. you can see, they built the berms behind me to block the incoming oil. but tonight, good news and relief. a new government report says that 75% of that oil has been
cleaned up either by man or mother nature. it seems this war against this oil is coming to an end. tonight, the fight to stop the oil has been won. making use of the largest armada of ships since d-day, engineers pumped into the top of the well a 2 1/2 mile long column of mud that forced the oil back into the earth. research teams found no sign of a leak. it worked. no more oil will ever spill out of this well. >> so, the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. and we are very pleased with that. >> reporter: the nail in the coffin? a column of cement nearly two football fields long poured in on top of the mud. a decision on that could come as early as tonight. >> we want to make sure it is permanently sealed with cement. >> reporter: to make sure this well stays dead, the government is still pushing ahead with the first relief well, about 100 feet away from injecting cement into the bottom of the well. on the surface, three quarters
of the oil appear to be gone. >> the vast majority of the oil has been cleaned, skimmed, contained. >> reporter: the fleet of 800 or so skimmers, only mopped up 3% of the oil. mother nature did the lion's share of work. bacteria gobbled up millions of gallons and as much as a quarter of the oil simply evaporated. that leaves 50 million gallons still unaccounted for, and could linger for years to come. >> another big question, matt, where this leaves the ocean fishermen in the gulf. what about their shrimp and oysters and fish? jeffrey kofman looked into this for us. he's in buras, louisiana. >> reporter: that didn't take long. just days after much of the louisiana fishery was reopened, the crab nets are full. any sign of oil? >> nope. none. >> reporter: there were no massive fish kills. test after test is finding gulf seafood is perfectly safe. the only incidents of oil are a few isolated oyster beds, which is why most of the fisheries that were closed have reopened
or will soon. we first met cindy and henry in june when they were delivering one of their last shrimp catches to the processor. shrimp season could resume this week. they told us today they are ready, but they are worried. if the perception of the shrimp being taint ed doesn't change, don't know. >> reporter: if the people see it back on the shelves, will they buy it? >> i wouldn't risk it. not now. >> reporter: josh smith runs a fishing lodge. his customers are calling to see if he's open, but they are tentative. p >> perception across america is that the gulf is tainted and it's not. >> reporter: a quarter million people work in tourism in this region. normally, this is peak season in alabama. but worried tourists are staying away. >> i will have to go out of business. with the 100 days of high volume did not happen. >> reporter: it is too late for
faye. others will come back. it is just not clear how long it will take. jeffrey kofman, abc news, buras, louisiana. and the news that so much of the oil seems to have disappeared brings us to a footnote about ousted bp ceo tony hayward, when he said, quote, the gulf of mexico is a very big ocean the amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume. president obama, you may remember, took him to task. >> he wouldn't be working for me. after any of those statements. >> reporter: well, today, abc news asked the white house spokesman, was hayward right? >> now it appears that mr. hayward may in fact have been right. does the administration owe him an apology? >> nobody owes tony hayward an apology. >> that today in the briefing room at the white house. and across the south tonight, people are reeling in
100-degree heat, smothering state after state like a blanket. the combination ofeat and humidity makes it feel like 120 degrees in some places, and it's not just sweltering, it's dangerous. steve so o osunsami is in atlanta. >> reporter: in memphis today, the thermostat read 104. add the stifling humidity, and it felt more like 120. >> it doesn't quit. it's hot at night, it's hot during the day. it's hot all the time. >> reporter: so far this week, at least 12 people have died in the triple digit temperatures breaking heat records across the south and midwest, including one man who ignored the heat advisories and was out mowing his lawn. firefighters are going door to door urging residents to cool it. >> just about through? >> yes, just about through. >> okay, good. make sure you stay hydrated. >> reporter: in columbus, georgia, and jacksonville, texas -- >> we put these cookies on our dash over an hour and a half ago.
>> reporter: it was hot enough today to bake cookies in the heat. >> it's kind of messy. it's ooey and gooey, but it's still pretty good. >> reporter: across new orleans, the heat is buckling the roads. in mississippi today, farmer drew burns told us the heat, combined with the lack of rain, has killed his soybeans. he's already lost a third of his crop. >> every time you leave the house, you want to drive a different way. >> reporter: the heat is but it's the humidity that o it's been as high as 80% in the past few days. no matter how much you sweat, f. in tulsa, they've opened cooling centers and turned on the fountains. >> it can just put you down, make you sick, all the way to death. >> reporter: and the ecas misery across the south and midwest well into next week. steve osunsami, oo bc news, atlanta. and new details emerged about warehouse driver omar thornton, who took out two .9 millimeter handguns and went on a rampage yesterday. he killed eight and myself in manchester, connecticut.
today, we heard some of the 911 calls. >> 911, what's going on? >> somebody got shot. i got shot. >> i need information, sir. >> we need the cops. omar thornton is shooting people. i just got shot. >> you're shot where 1234. >> in my head. >> i'm in the back paper storage closet. >> stay there. >> help me, please. help me. >> again, those calls coming in today. people close to thornton, including his girlfriend, say he was the victim of racial taunts at work. the company denies it. and in a fair well message to his mother, thornton asked her to stop smoking. some of the richest, most powerful people in america made a pledge today, spurred on by two famous philanthropists. the challenge, give away half their fortune. bianna golodryga tells us who signed on. >> reporter: $249 billion. the equivalent of almost $1,000 for every american, is how much these 40 americans are worth collectively. and today, they pledged to give half of their wealth away.
>> we probably called between 70 and 80 people on the forbes list and it was a very soft sell. >> reporter: warren buffett, together with bill gates, personally called their fellow billionaires, even hosted private dinners, in hopes of convincing them to donate. is it surprising that given the uncertain economic times we're in right now, 40 billionaires already pledged to give roughly half of their money away? >> remember, we have dire economic times and rich guys usually aren't the guys that look really good in dire economic times. so it's really good pr to align yourself with buffett and gates right now. >> reporter: among the donors? michael bloomberg. >> what we want to do is find those things that would really make a difference. >> reporter: in a statement to abc news, donor pete peterson had this to say. "private philanthropy has a unique and urgent role to play in both helping the less fortunate and in educating, motivating and activating the american public." but not all billionaires are as eager to take the pledge. >> some are saying, you know
what, i don't really need to be called out publicly if i give money back because i've created tens of thousands of jobs. >> reporter: so, who will hold all the billionaires to their word? we may see a pledge watch? >> you will. >> reporter: bianna golodryga, abc news, new york. and we'll keep you up to date on that pledge watch. still ahead on "world news," a fact check in the immigration debate. are women really sneaking into this u.s. to give birth just so that their children will be american citizens? and, what this student is doing to get an education. 0 cat to be s possible so, we set out to discover the nutritional science in some of nature's best ingredients. that's how we created purina one with smartblend. nutritionally optimized with real salmon, wholesome grains and essential antioxidants, for strong muscles, vital energy, a healthy immune system, and a real difference in your cat. purina one improved with smartblend.
discover what one can do. [ susan ] i hate that the reason we're always stopping is because i have to go to the bathroom. and when we're sitting in traffic, i worry i'll have an accident. be right back. so today i'm finally going to talk to my doctor about overactive bladder. [ female announcer ] if you're suffering, today is the day to talk to your doctor and ask about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents all day and all night. and toviaz comes with a simple, 12-week plan with tips on training your bladder. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma or cannot empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. toviaz can cause blurred vision and drowsiness, so use caution when driving or doing unsafe tasks. the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation. [ susan ] today, i'm visiting my son without visiting every single bathroom. [ female announcer ] why wait?
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travelers. take the scary out of life. now to the emotional debate about illegal immigrants and the u.s. constitution. we told you last night about the push by some republicans to rewrite the 14th amendment, which gives automatic citizenship to anyone born in the u.s., including the children of undocumented workers. and in reporting the story, we heard a provocative charge from a senator. so, we asked dan harris to in s investiga investigate. >> reporter: this is the sound bite from republican senator lindsey graham that got the whole debate started. >> people come here to have babies. they come here to drop a child. it's called "drop and leave." to have a child in america, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child and that child's automatically an american citizen. >> reporter: so, we wanted to know, is this allegation true? we did find there is a
cottage industry of travel agencies and hotel chains catering to so-called "birth tourists." for example, this is a turki turkish-owned luxury hotel here in manhattan, which markets birth tourism packages to pregnant women, luring more than a dozen expectant mothers last year. the package includes a room for a month, a baby cradle and a gift set for the mother. estimated cost, north of $17,000. so we asked senator graham's office, how much is birth tourism really happening? his office cited a number from the national center of health statistics, which says, of the more than 4 million live births every year, 7,670 were children born to mothers who said they did not live here. not a huge number. there is some evidence that some of the lawmakers who wrote the 14th amendment to the constitution, which says anyone born here is a citizen, did not design it to apply to foreigners, but instead, for recently emancipated slaves.
>> in defending the 14th amendment citizenship provision, the senator said clearly he did not believe it applied to aliens or foreigners, and yet another senator said equally clearly that he believed that it did. >> reporter: but still the courts have repeatedly supported the notion that people who are born here are automatically citizens, and if congress passed a law changing that, experts say it would likely be struck down. dan harris, abc news, new york. and we continue the debate on all of this at abcnews.com. still ahead, the president's birthday, and travel for the first lady. [ michael hall ] we are only as good
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i take care with vesicare. because i have better places to visit than just the bathroom. (announcer) once-daily vesicare can help control your bladder muscle, and is proven to reduce frequent, sudden urges and leaks, day and night. if you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take vesicare. tell your doctor right away if you have a serious allergic reaction, severe abdominal pain, or become constipated for three or more days. vesicare may cause blurred vision so use caution while driving or doing unsafe tasks. common side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and indigestion. you have better things to join than always a line for the bathroom. so, pipe up and ask your doctor today about taking care with vesicare. discover visine® .tired eye relief with hydroblend™, only from visine®. just one drop nstantly soothes and revives tired, overworked eyes. and comforts them for p to ten hours.
visine® tired eye relief. try now an save $3. at the white house today, they sang to the president. ♪ happy birthday to you it is his birthday. he is now 49. he says, we've watched him go gray, and the photographs since the campaign do show a little speckle in that hair. he is going to chicago alone tonight to dine with friends. his oldest daughter is away at summer camp. his wife and youngest daughter sasha have traveled to a resort in spain with a group of friends from chicago, moms and daughters. a record here in new york today. in the bronx, aled rodriguez of the yankees hit his 600th home run, becoming the youngest player to do so. he's 35. some argue that the record needs an asterisk, though. a-rod admitted using steroids early in his career. and nature put on a
spectacular show last night. look at the photographs of the northern lights over wisconsin and canada. it's a result of a solar tsunami, a huge solar storm sending highly charged particles hurtling forwards earth. and enencore performance is likely tonight. still ahead, what one college student is doing to pursue his dream. i have fallen in love with making bird houses. honestly, i'd love to do this for the rest of my life so i have to take care of myself. [ male announcer ] to keep doing what you love, keep your heart healthy. cheerios can help.
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i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. so today i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder. [ female announcer ] if you're suffering, today is the day to talk to your doctor and ask about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents all day and all night. plus, toviaz comes with a simple plan with tips on food and drink choices. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma or cannot empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. toviaz can cause blurred vision and drowsiness, so use caution when driving or doing unsafe tasks. the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation. [ jackie ] i asked my doctor about toviaz. and today i'm looking forward to my daughter's wedding. [ female announcer ] why wait? ask about toviaz today.
finally, a young man determined to be the first in his family to get a college education, vaulting over the odds to do it. it's a story with a twist, especially in these political times. david muir brings it to us. ever since high school, i always knew i wanted to go to ucla, but i never saw it as accessible or affordable or even just a possibility. >> reporter: not even a possibility, he thought. and yet, at 22, diego sepulveda is now a senior at ucla. he says his parents work in sweatshops in east l.a. he worked full-time at subway and mcdonald's to earn the money. >> all my money went to tuition, but i was walking around hungry all the time. i didn't have clean clothes. a lot of the time, i wore the same things for maybe three days. >> reporter: on campus, where most of us see labs and lecture
halls, diego also sees a place to sleep. >> when i didn't have a place to sleep or when i didn't have a place to go, i started staying in the dorm lounges or in the library. >> reporter: or he would come to this student center. >> i would sleep on this couch. >> reporter: going home means four buses and four hours. >> we've been on the bus for four hours and it's really tiring. >> reporter: to that tiny apartment where he grew up. >> my sister sleeps in this bed. my parents sleep on this one. this couch is actually where i slept. i love this couch, it's like my best friend. >> reporter: and out back? >> we're going into what i call my backyard. we have a washer. we have to keep it outside because it doesn't fit in the apartment. >> reporter: not afraid to show us where he comes from, diego was also not afraid to reveal something else. he is one of those undocumented illegals we've all been arguingen. his parents moved him here from mexico when he was 4. >> i can't receive any scholarships. i don't receive work studies.
i just want to go to school. i just want to get my degree. >> reporter: friends who've watched him work so hard now watch over him. a food pantry in a small room near school for free. >> i've never had half of the room, so this is an honor. >> reporter: an honor, he says. aware his status is part of a national debate. >> no matter what, i'm going to finish ucla, and i'm really, really optimistic about my fu future. >> reporter: an uncertain future, but so was the thought of college when he was young. david muir, abc news. >> a young man with a very big dream. hope you have a great night tonight and that you're back with us again tomorrow night. see you then. trapped in the trance of their shopping routine,
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